January 19, 2010

Perhaps I was a bit too hasty in condemning the IPCC’s Pachuri for incompetence.  What may look like scientific incompetence may just be good old-fashioned greed.  These IPCC folks are as sleazy as the proverbial
“used car salesman”.  In the world of academics, grants are the life blood and nothing is better for generating grant money than outrageous statements attached to AGW. The following is from Pielke’s blog: rodger.pielkejr.blogspot.com

Roger Pielke Jr., 18 January 2010

The IPCC treatment of Himalayan glaciers and its chairman’s conflicts of interest are related. The points and time line below are as I understand them and are informed by reporting by Richard North.

1. In 2007 the IPCC issues its Fourth Assessment Report which contains the false claim that the Himalayan glaciers are expected to disappear by 2035.

2. The basis for that statement was a speculative comment made to a reporter by Syed Hasnain in 1999, who was then (and after) a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

3. Following the publication of the IPCC report, and the widespread media coverage of the false claim about Himalayan glaciers, Dr. Hasnain joins TERI as a Senior Fellow, where Dr. Pachauri is the director.

4. Drs. Pachauri and Hasnain together seek to raise fund for TERI for work on Himalayan glaciers, justified by the work of the IPCC, according to Dr. Pachauri just last week:

“Scientific data assimilated by IPCC is very robust and it is universally acknowledged that glaciers are melting because of climate change. The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI) in its endeavor to facilitate the development of an effective policy framework and their strategic implementation for the adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts on the local population is happy to collaborate with the University of Iceland, Ohio State University and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.”

5. When initially questioned about the scientific errors Dr. Pachauri calls such questions “voodoo science” in the days leading up to the announcement of TERI receiving funding on this subject. Earlier Dr. Pachauri criticized in the harshest terms the claims made by the Indian government that were contrary to those in the IPCC

Pachauri said that such statements were reminiscent of “climate change deniers and school boy science”.

6. Subsequent to the error being more fully and publicly recognized, when asked by a reporter about the IPCC’s false claims Dr. Pachauri says that he has no responsibility for what Dr. Hasnain may have said, and Dr. Hasnain says, rather cheekily, the IPCC had no business citing his comments:

“It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers.”

Of course, neither Dr. Pachauri nor Dr. Hasnain ever said anything about the error when it was receiving worldwide attention (as being true) in 2007 and 2008, nor did they raise any issues with the IPCC citing non-peer reviewed work (which is a systemic problem). They did however use the IPCC and its false claims as justification in support of fund raising for their own home institution. At no point was any of this disclosed.

If the above facts and time line is correct (and I welcome any corrects to details that I may have in error), then what we have here is a classic and unambiguous case of financial conflict of interest. IPCC Chairman Pachauri was making public comments on a dispute involving factual claims by the IPCC at the same time that he was negotiating for funding to his home institution justified by those very same claims. If instead of climate science we were instead discussing scientific advisors on drug safety and funding from a pharmaceutical company to the advisory committee chair the conflict would be obvious.

Climate science desperately needs to clean up its act.


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